Before Bombings, Matt Damon Calls Boston Marathon 'A Sporting Spectacle Like No Other'
The Massachusetts native penned an essay about watching his father and brother run the race for this year's 125th anniversary of the Boston Athletic Association.
Matt Damon reminisced about his personal Boston Marathon memories for a book about the 125th anniversary of race sponsor the Boston Athletic Association.
His essay was excerpted in the Boston Globe on April 14, the day before a bombing killed three people at this year's race.
Several runners in this year's race raised money for Damon's foundation TEAM.water.org, which focuses on the global freshwater crisis.
No one on Damon's team is reported to have been injured in the attack.
Damon recalled watching his father, Kent, run the race in 1980 and then 20 years later his brother, Kyle.
He calls Boston a "sports town" and shoots down out-of-town critics "who suggest we that we natives take our sports a bit too seriously."
He describes the marathon as a "a sporting spectacle like no other" where "a palpable bond exists between audience and athlete, forming a distinctive stew of sympathy and suffering that has lasting effects for both parties."
Damon writes about 1980: "I’ll never forget standing there in the crowd with my brother, Kyle, as we looked first for Bill Rodgers [a four-time winner in the 1970s], and then, in the very same race as some of the most talented runners on earth, our smiling (and grimacing) 40-year-old dad."
In 2000, his brother Kyle ran the race and Damon happily served as his "water boy." He watched the race with his two nephews -- Kyle's sons -- at the same spot they had watched their father 20 years earlier. His brother ended up running the race three more times.
"To this day," Damon writes, "both my father and brother have their bib numbers archived with their most prized possessions and describe their experiences as some of the most emotional moments of their lives."